Dual Use

Deskjet 610C is quite a musical piece of peripheral. This is the first printer I ever owned. At the beginning, everything about it seemed fantastic – the flashing LED, the swift snap with which the paper slid into its mysterious interior. And then there was the music. My first PC didn’t have a sound card installed. In those days such little things were considered extra luxaries and one required to dig deeper into one’s pocket to be entitled to such pleasures.
But the 610C almost made me forget this shortcoming. Whenever it printed a document, it produced a short cello concerto, or something very similar in sound, only produced by a first timer. The session was prolonged when it printed long multipage documents. The music became loftier and more sublime, when I needed a line drawing printed for a rare walk-in client. Indeed, in one occasion, I saw a musically-inclined door-plaque designer nod his head in rhythm to 610C’s music as I printed large plaque-sized decorative texts for him. Neither him nor I cared for the fact that the hand required more practice. That a computer printer, in addition to printing pages, can produce such sound that can be passed as music was enough for me.
But this was the early phase of my business. I used to operate out what was literally a SOHO, the acronym that is, and not the London district. Days went by. People began to turn up regularly by twos and threes. I am not sure what drew them to me; there were tens others better equipped than me offering the same services and more. But the obvious began to happen with the printer – the cartridges it were shipped with began to lose their reserve.
It is at this point, that the 610C decided to extract the full price of of the entertainment it provided to me — through the price of its ink cartridges.
At this point, I must add that if I went to balance the output I got and the money I spent, the result didn’t look too unhappy. But the fact is that if I am to survive the big bad world of commercial retail printing, I didn’t have the slimmest chance of seeing the next day’s sun.
Disgusted with the expenses, I went on to commit the ultimate sin. I went to someone who could refuel an inkjet cartridge. The first fill worked fine. I was happy. My peace was restored. I could once again enjoy the cello concertoes, albeit a bit cautiously this time. But it didn’t take long to turn my new found joy to sorrow. On my next refuel, the man at the counter very kindly informed me that my cartridge couldn’t be refilled again.
“Why?!” — I felt like the sky came crashing down on me.
“The nozzles are clogged. Wouldn’t help if we did fill it up. Not a drop would pass onto the paper.”
I solved the dilemma for the time being by reaching into my pocket, i.e. buying a new set of cartridges. But the sad thing happened again.
Since then the carefree music maker lies at the top of my cupboard, an ancient towel acting as his winding sheet. Borrowing a large steel company’s line, he could say “We also print pages from computers” but I know I won’t be convinced any more.

About Surya Sunder

Anglophone Bibliophile
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